SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse coach Dino Babers reached deep into Florida for four players and also inked four from New York as the Orange strive to become more competitive in the Atlantic Coast Conference’s tough Atlantic Division.

Syracuse’s early class of 15 players was ranked 44th by 247sports.com, putting the Orange on pace for their best showing in the past decade. Still, it was behind six other ACC schools, half of them in the Atlantic Division.

Among the signees inked Wednesday were four wideouts and three linebackers as Babers focused on replacing key players on both sides of the ball who finished their Syracuse careers.

Wideouts Steve Ishmael and Erv Philips combined to catch 194 passes for 2,251 yards and 11 touchdowns and linebackers Zaire Franklin and Parris Bennett combined for 200 tackles on a team that finished 4-8 for the third straight time.

The Orange also signed three offensive linemen, two safeties, and one quarterback, one tight end and athlete Trill Williams, who’s experienced on both sides of the ball but is expected to begin at cornerback.

Three signees earned four-star ratings: WR Ed Hendrix of Washington, D.C.; OL Qadir White of the Bronx; and Williams, of Yonkers.

Babers said the early signing period was a good fit for the Orange.

“This is our first go-round with it,” he said. “I think it’s good for an institution like Syracuse. I think we would have had some difficulty holding on to some of these players.”


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